Santorum And Opus Dei

Mar 7 2012 @ 12:47pm

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He is not a member, he tells us, but his chosen parish church has deep ties to the organization:

St. Catherine is one of only about 10 sites in Virginia that offers “evenings of recollection.” These are monthly, hour-and-a-half long talks by lay people and priests belonging to Opus Dei. They are segregated by sex—St. Catherine men who attend these do so at the Reston Study Center, one town over, while women attend them at St. Catherine.

Sex-segregation for adults is commonplace for Opus Dei. Santorum is not just a weekly-mass Catholic; but a daily-mass Catholic. This too:

In 2002, Santorum travelled to Rome with high-profile American members for the 100th birthday of Opus Dei’s founder, Josemaría Escrivá de Balaguer. (The five-day event is where Santorum first criticized John F. Kennedy’s “separation of church and state” speech, speaking to a reporter.) He has also sent two of his sons to the Heights School, a Washington, D.C. school with ties to Opus Dei.

I was recruited by Opus Dei at Harvard. Why not? I was a very bright young Catholic, very motivated by and interested in the church. I even went on an Opus Dei retreat. I have no issue whatever with groups that are reviving older, Catholic liturgical traditions – like the Veneration of the Eucharist. In fact, I think they are doing the church a favor by recovering some of the rituals, mystery and rigor that were sometimes carelessly lost in the wake of Vatican II. But it was not for me. The sex segregation was creepy; the cult of the Founder was creepier; the practices of self-mortification – the cilice, self-whipping – I found psychologically troubling.

It is within the broad spectrum of Catholic tradition; but the all-male sexual repression seemed all too close to pathology for my part, especially given what we were discovering about sex abuse from the heirarchy on down. So I resisted. There was something dark in there; and I preferred the light.

(Photo: Witnesses in the secretive Roman Catholic society Opus Dei 's trial Marie Berangere Juin and Bruno Devos answer journalists' questions upon arrival at Paris court on September 21, 2011, for the first ever trial in Europe coming after a nine-year probe and centers on Catherine Tessier who said that as a teenager she was forced to work 14-hour days and brainwashed, triggering in charges of 'undignified punishment' and illegal employment . Two Opus Dei members are defendants at the trial, along with the University and Technical Culture Association (ACUT), which runs the Dosnon Hotel School in Aisne in northern France and is accused of links to Opus Dei. By Lionel Bonaventure/AFP/Getty Images.)